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Home > Students > Financial Aid > Federal Direct Loan Program

Federal Direct Loan Program

The U.S. Department of Education offers eligible students at participating schools Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans and PLUS loans. These loans are federal student loans for eligible students and/or parent to assist with the cost of higher education at a four-year college or university, community college, trade, career, or technical school.

Basic eligibility requirements for students requesting a Direct Loan:

  • Students must be enrolled in at least 6 units at the Coast Community College District.
  • Students must have met satisfactory academic requirements.
  • Students must be enrolled in an eligible program of study.
  • First-time borrowers may not receive subsidized loans for more than 150% of the length of program of study. For example, if you are enrolled in a 2-year associate degree program, the maximum period for which you can receive a Direct Subsidized Loan is 3 years (150% of 2 years = 3 years). If you are enrolled in a certificate program that is 32 weeks, the maximum period for which you can receive a Direct Subsidized Loan is 48 weeks (150% of 32 = 48 weeks).The Department of Education may stop paying your interest subsidy if you exceed that limit. Please check with your financial aid specialist at your campus for additional information.


Military Students

In acknowledgement of your service to our country, there are special benefits and repayment options for your student loans available from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Defense. For more information about Federal Student Aid for military students Click Here.

How to Apply

As with all federal student aid, you apply for Direct Loans by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The information on your FAFSA is transmitted to the schools that you list on the application, and those schools use the information to assess your financial need for student aid. 

Steps to apply for a loan after the FAFSA has been completed.
Contact your financial aid office; they will guide you in the completion of the required documents. A Loan Request Form is required by each campus for all loans. This document will be placed on your online financial aid file.

Once you have completed the Loan Request Form from your campus, go to and complete the following:

I. Required Counseling Sessions:  Students who are requesting loans must complete the entrance counseling sessions.    

Entrance Counseling

II. Once you have completed the Direct Loan entrance counseling sessions, you will need to complete the Master Promissory Note - Master Promissory Note


III. If this is your last semester, you will need to complete the exit counseling sessions prior to the second disbursement of your loan. Exit Counseling

Repayment begins six months after you graduate or cease to be at least a halftime student. You will generally have 10 years to pay back your loan. Your monthly payment will usually be more than $200, but never less than $50. It is the borrower's responsibility to maintain contact with the United States Department of Education and to establish a repayment schedule. The borrower's failure to inform the United States Department of Education of changes in enrollment status, anticipated graduation dates, current address, name, deferment eligibility, or college of attendance may result in default on the student loan.

Accepting a Loan

The Financial Aid Office will tell you the loan amounts that it is offering, check your online financial aid account with your campus for the amount of your loan.  You should evaluate the loan offer carefully. In the case of loans, keep in mind that whatever amount you borrow must be paid back with interest. If your living expenses are not as high as the standard allowance projected by your school, you may not have to borrow as much as the amount offered. The Department of Education offers financial awareness counseling -  Financial Awareness Counseling

You have the right to decline the loan or to request a lower loan amount.  This is done through your online financial aid account.

PLUS Loans

This is a loan that parents may request to assist a student with his/her costs of attendance.

A credit check will be performed and used to determine the loan amount.

Credit check & endorser alternative

When you apply for a Direct PLUS Loan, the Department will check your credit history. To be eligible to receive a PLUS loan, you must not have an adverse credit history. If you are determined to have an adverse credit history, you may still receive a Direct PLUS Loan if you obtain an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the Direct PLUS Loan if you do not repay the loan. If you are a parent borrowing on behalf of your dependent student, the endorser may not be the student on whose behalf a parent obtains a Direct PLUS Loan. In some cases, you may also be able to obtain a Direct PLUS Loan if you document to our satisfaction that there are extenuating circumstances related to your adverse credit history.

Loan Limitations


California public two year institutions have the lowest enrollment fees and tuition in the nation; and, Direct Loans have aggregate limitations for undergraduate students. As such, students are advised to borrow wisely and only borrow what you need so that you have remaining funds to complete your four-year degree.

The amount of financial aid a student may receive cannot exceed the student's cost of attendance (COA) and/or financial need.  Your student budget is located on your online financial aid file; log in through MyOCC, MyGWC, or MyCCC. If your expenses are over and above the budget, please schedule an appointment to meet with a financial aid specialist at your campus.


Direct Stafford Loan Limits (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)
 Undergraduate studentsGraduate students
1st-year$5,500 ($3,500)3$9,500 ($3,500)$20,500 ($8,5004) for each year
2nd-year$6,500 ($4,500)$10,500 ($4,500)
3rd- and 4th-year$7,500 ($5,500)$12,500 ($5,500)
Aggregate$31,000 ($23,000)$57,500 ($23,000)$138,5005 ($65,500)

1Except those whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan.
2These limits also apply to dependent students whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan.
3The numbers in parentheses represent the maximum amount that may be subsidized.
4Graduate and professional students are not eligible to receive Direct Subsidized Loans for loan periods beginning on or after July 1, 2012.
5The aggregate amounts for graduate students include loans for undergraduate study.

The actual loan amount you are eligible to receive for an academic year is determined by your school and may be less than the maximum annual amounts shown in the chart above. The aggregate limits include both Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and any subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans received through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program.

With a Direct PLUS Loan, a graduate/professional student or the parent of a dependent student can borrow up to the cost of the student's attendance minus other financial aid the student receives. 

Generally, you'll have from 10 to 25 years to repay your loan, depending on which repayment plan (there are several) you choose.

The Direct Loan Servicing Center will notify you of the date your first payment is due. If you do not choose a repayment plan, you will be placed on the Standard Repayment Plan, with fixed monthly payments for up to 10 years. Most Direct Loan borrowers choose to stay with the Standard Repayment Plan, but there are other options for borrowers who may need more time to repay or who need to make lower payments at the beginning of the repayment period.

You can change repayment plans at any time by going to the Direct Loan Servicing Center's website and logging in to your account.